Archives for : June2017

{Flock Updates} The Big Day Out

This morning, I took the Dracarys Flock to Mim’s appointment with Dr. Miller (I always go in as early as possible to avoid stress on the birds from other animals). I ended up bringing all 3 to help keep the stress levels down in Mim since I’ve read peafowl can actually stress themselves to death. I swear to god if this isn’t an animal that is so me, I don’t know what is. Bringing all 3 turned out to be a good visual for Dr. Miller on how stunted Mom’s growth is compared to Sy and Fin. 

Dr. Miller checked Mim out, made sure his wings had full range of motion, listened to his air sacs, all the usual wellness exam stuffs. The good news is that she didn’t think his respiratory symptoms were bad enough to cause the wing drooping (usually, dropping wings is not a good sign) because his air sacs sounded fine. He’s too small right now to do x-rays to be 100% sure, but she was fairly confident that, due to his difficult hatch, he was just very weak and didn’t have the strength to keep his wings tucked up next to his body like a regular bird. Basically, Mim is the peachick version of pre Super Soldier serum Steve Rogers. 

She did want to put him on a low dose of antibiotics for the next two weeks since he did have mucus in his mouth in Sunday. This is basically just a precaution to make sure it doesn’t turn into something more serious since his immune system is somewhat compromised. We’re in kind of a waiting pattern to see if he pulls through and keeps going right now. Of course, I will do whatever I need to in order to make sure he has the best chance at survival. Even if that means he has to be the boy in the bubble as he gets older.

I am extremely thankful I found Dr. Miller and Broomfield Veterinary Hospital for the birds. She always explains everything she’s checking out and how she’s checking it out so that I can do a lot of troubleshooting on my own without having to go in. Which is a good thing since I’m a helicopter bird mom and worry about every little thing that happens if I don’t know how to triage it. She’s very much like Toki and Arya’s vet, Dr. Guster (who is with a different vet office but totally worth it because he’s probably the only person Toki will let handle him besides me or my family), with sharing information so that I’m better informed about how to care for these animals. I appreciate professionals like that, who know money isn’t sprouting out of my wallet and are willing to help me make informed decisions on whether or not I need to pay vet fees. It’s a nice change from the vets I saw with the dogs I had prior to Toki and Arya. They nickel and dimed me and ultimately where the reason for those dogs being in so much pain I had to have them euthanized.

I know a lot of people think I’m wasting money by having a vet I take my chickens and peafowl to. However, I don’t think it is. A chicken’s life isn’t less than mine just because the food industry tells me they are. In fact, I feel that because animals feed and clothe us that is the very reason we should do whatever we can to make their lives have better quality. Obviously, I’m not raising these birds for food – I don’t even eat their eggs as often as they and the dogs do. It’s life and it’s worthy of being given the chance. If I can give them a good life, maybe I can make a good life for myself.

{Flock Updates} Mim’s the Word

Mim is doing better today! He was still a little weak from not eating much yesterday (little dudes can pack it away like you wouldn’t believe), but he was hoping around with his brothers. I am so relieved by this. It looks like the Corid & electrolytes got rid of the excess mucus & boosted his system enough to get him going again. I am still waiting to hear back from the vet so I can take him in just to be on the safe side.

I also tried to give them some more vertical room in their brooder & I don’t thing they like it. Of course, it looks like a shack from a Harry Potter book that’s just one fart away from blowing over, so I really don’t blame them for being hesitant on trying to fly up to the roosts. It’s a good thing I’ve spent my entire life trying to be a general artist & not an engineer or architect. This thing is abysmal. 

{Flock Updates} Stress Levels High

This morning, Mim was extremely weak and had mucus in his mouth. This is not a good thing for a bird. Bad news is that our bird vet isn’t in on Sundays, the exotic vet they refer to on Sundays wouldn’t see us because they considered peafowl “wild animals”, and I was a serious helicopter mom all day by sitting on the floor with the brooder to keep an eye on him. Good news is that he got up and walked around a number of times, ate and drank a little, and doesn’t have mucus in his mouth anymore. 

I left a voicemail with our vet, so I’m hoping we can get him in tomorrow to be seen and put on antibiotics. I have a very good guess at what is bothering him and why, but it’s still just a guess since I am not a vet or even a seasoned peafowl caretaker. 

I’ve got just enough on two credit cards to cover an emergency vet visit (if they don’t take Care Credit), so everyone just send little Mim good thoughts so he makes it through the night.

{Photo of the Day} 24.06.2017

I’m the bird lady in the park from Mary Poppins

{Flock Updates} You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on animals

All the babies are growing at the usual quick pace, and I am continuing to fall in love with Syrax, Fin Fang Foom, and Mad Mim so much. Last night, Fin and Mim fell asleep on the back of my neck, in my hair, and Sy fell asleep in my hands (Arya planted herself on my legs so she wasn’t left out and Toki was just irritated that no one was adhering to his ridged schedule and sleeping in their designated areas). I’m pretty sure all three of the baby dragons are male; however, I still can’t tell 100% with Sy. We’ll have to wait for the shoulder feathers to grow out some more.

Damien seems to be slowing down on his need to breed and we haven’t had to separate him from the rest of the flock for a good string of days. I’m very thankful for this. All the info on peafowl that says they can stress themselves to death had me super worried that’s what was going to happen here. Maybe the hormones are weening back since breeding season is almost over or maybe it’s not worth it since the temps have been up in the 90s lately. It’s been hot enough that none of the birds came out to free range the other day because it wasn’t worth leaving the shade. Summertime in Colorado – a dry heat!

The good thing about the heat is that the birds eat less & I don’t have to buy food as often as I do in the winter. Which is good because I still haven’t gotten a solid job offer. I definitely feel like the minute I drop that I’m disabled, anyone interviewing me automatically DQ’s me for the job even though I’m only applying to jobs I know I can manage. It’s pretty disheartening. I have been adding more merch to the shops, but there’s been no activity since that fist month of having the Redbubble shop open. If I don’t hear anything by the end of the month as far as a job offer, I’m going to pull all the money I can from my retirement savings. It’s not ideal since that would automatically make me not qualify for the disability insurance PERA offers, but I’ve got bills to pay and animals to care for.

{Flock Updates} Name Changes and Expansions

Had some name changes and shuffles with the chicks and peas. Sometimes I’m pretty good at guessing personalities with the animals, and sometimes they prove me wrong and adjustments need to be made so they have a name that fits them. I wish it were that easy to do as a human.

Douma and Irving have had their names changed to Mumbles and One-Two (respectively) because watching them rough house with each other reminded me of Idris Elba and Gerard Butler in the movie RocknRolla. Yes, two more males for sure with these ones. One-Two, in the tradition of his lineage, has really amped up the attempted crowing in the mornings. He still sounds like a mechanical murder dinosaur and it cracks me up.

Mina is still Mina and definitely the only female to hatch from the chicken eggs. She isn’t very much like Sparta, personality wise. She’s very quiet and reserved. She doesn’t have the mohawk that seems to be a strong trait from Memnoch (both One-Two and Mumbles have one), so I’m thinking her sire might be Ronan.

The peachicks just had a slight name shuffle. Mim is now Fin and Fin is now Mim. I am so in love with these three. I think I mentioned this previously, but I didn’t expect them to be so different from the chicken chicks. With the chicks, you basically show them where the food and water is, how to dip there beaks in and eat and drink, and that’s pretty much all they want from you as long as they have other chicks in the brooder with them. Peachicks, on the other hand, imprint on you fast and heavy. They want you to hold them and cuddle them and it is just the most adorable thing on the planet. Fin was really complainy last night, so I took him out and put him on my chest while I rested my legs, and he just went right to sleep. Their wings are getting huge, for the most part. Mim still has some rumbled looking feathers from being in the egg so long and not being able to get out on her own. Syrax is getting some purple/black looking feathers coming in on her shoulders and wings. This was some validation that was almost 2 years in the making. The reason I stopped going to the peafowl section of the boards was because a few of the users were trying to accuse the breeder I got Dalton and Richmond from of lying to me about what kind of peahens they were. The said there was no way Dalton could be a black shoulder (which she isn’t, she’s a spaulding purple black shoulder) and that there was no way Richmond could be a cameo (again, which she isn’t, she’s a spaulding cameo split pied). Anyhow, black shoulders start out looking like they’ll be all white as chicks until the darker feathers start coming in. Always someone that wants to be a know-it-all and try to shit on people they don’t even know.

Personality wise, they’re all very curious but hesitant when you take them out of the brooder. I got them outside in a rabbit cage that has a poop tray under it so they can’t touch the ground – apparently, they can’t touch the ground for the first few months. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with how susceptible they are to catching diseases and parasites. The temps are getting up to the 90s, so it was warm enough for them to be away from the brooder for a half an hour while I worked on the a-frames for the aviary expansion. The Hellblazers came up to check them out, but there’s something about them that all the animals seem to sense distinguishes them from chickens. I’m not sure if they smell different or what it is, but even the dogs seem to know they’re different from the chicks they’ve been watching grow for the past 2 years.

They’ve also already started to try flying around before they were even a week old. They’ve been making really amazing progress at it so far and it just amazes me how they just know how to do things like that and don’t need to be taught it. Having them hatch when they did, I’m glad I wasn’t still working for Colorado Parks and Wildlife and having to put up with their disability discrimination and harassment. If I were still having to put up with that and having a constant concussion migraine and cognitive fatigue and all the other symptoms my coworkers and manager made worse with their behavior, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them as much as I am right now. After this month, if I don’t find a job, I’ll be out of health insurance, bills will be difficult to cover, but I’m so glad I get to spend all day with them and my dogs and the other birds.

There has also been a boom in baby buns from the feral rabbits this spring. Charles Bronson (the rabbit that had been digging in and out of the main aviary) turned out to be a female and had a litter in a hole between the fence of the aviary and the peafowl’s greenhouse. They are the most diverse looking babies I’ve seen come out of all the feral rabbits so far. I wanted to keep the one I’m holding in that picture so much, but I put it back in the den with its siblings. There’s been at least 2 litters up near the house. One of the litters is a group of these rollie pollie rabbits that I’ve named Butterball, The Great Hambino, Chunk, and Albert. They are the most adorable bunnies.

{Flock Updates} Things Keep Moving

There’s one thing you can say about Nature: it just keeps doing its thing, day after day. There’s some sense of relief and calming to be around that. The baby chickens are just over a month old now and are spending their days outside. One of them, I suspect Irving (Memnoch and Mercury’s chick), tried to crow the other day and it just sounded like I had a murder dinosaur in my room. Douma (Memnoch and Ava’Dara’s chick) is very much like his dam – has a lot to say every time I pick him up. Mina (Sparta’s chick – still not sure who the sire is) is just like her dam.

Damien’s hormone aggression has steadily gotten more intense towards Dalton and Ava’Dara now. I keep trying the separation thing, but that seems to diffuse the situation for less and less time the more I have to do it. The only thing I can think of to distract him would be to put that mirror back in the aviary with him; however, I don’t want him to injure himself anymore than I want him to injure Dalton or Ava’Dara or any of the other birds.

I’m working on getting the aviary updated with the a-frames and new netting and shade panels right now. After I get that set up, the next thing I’m going to work on is sectioning off part of the aviary for the 2 smaller coops – 1 for Memnoch and Mercury and the other as the grow out coop. From there, I would like to fix up the smaller pen with a partial roof so I’m not wasting so much feed whenever it rains.

Beyond that, I’ve been working on landscaping around both. I picked up a number of perennials and annuals that reseed themselves, along with more vine transplants from Granny. I don’t like how bare it all is, even though I know it’s difficult to grow anything out here between the sandy soil, the rabbits, and the birds themselves. If anything, I’m hoping at least the vines and the peppermint plant take off and spread out.

{Risky Business} May Accounting



This was all the income from the A Flock Between Pastures business/Patreon.

These are the expenses for A Flock Between Pastures. A total of $53.45 (not including the amount that was used for the larger Brinsea incubator for the peafowl eggs) was spent on the birds for the month of May.

Unfortunately, my art on Redbubble and Society6 hasn’t done much of anything. While I did make a few sales of Redbubble, I didn’t actually get much from those sales. I’m debating increasing the prices even though I’m not getting much traffic to either.

Hopefully, I’ll find somewhere that will hire me at least part-time soon so I’m not worried about how I’m going to cover the animals needs and my bills next month.

Despite this worry, I am incredibly grateful and thankful for the Patreon supports and the sales I did make on Redbubble.

{Animal Mad Scientistry} Peachicks!

3 of the 7 eggs hatched! Things were a little rough for a first time attempting to hatch peahen eggs (I ended up having to dip into my savings for a new printer to buy a larger incubator), but 3 peachicks is more than I honestly thought I would end up with despite all 7 making it pretty far into the process.

The first one to hatch was from one of Dalton’s eggs, is very light coloured (whites and almost a peach colour), and is named Syrax after the dragon ridden solely by Rhaenyra Targaryen from the histories of the book series A Song of Ice and Fire.

The second on to hatch was from one of Richmond’s eggs, was the first one to try flying out of the brooder, and is named Mad Mim after Mad Madam Mim, who turned into a dragon during a duel with Merlin, from The Sword in the Stone (just referred as Mad Mim right now because I don’t know if Mim is male or female).

The third and last to hatch was also from one of Richmond’s eggs, is a little bit weaker than the other two because it took longer to hatch, and is named Fin Fang Foom after the extraterrestrial dragon created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee for Marvel Comics (called Fin for short).

The make a teapot sound that gets louder and louder until I pick them up and put them under my chin (and on my cleavage). It cracks me up because that is not how the baby chickens act at all. Once they’re a few days old, they pretty much don’t want a whole lot to do with me. These little puffs are all wings, neck, and legs right now. I am so in love with them.

From what little information I have been able to find online and in books, there’s still a very good chance that these three won’t make it out of the brooder. Apparently, peachicks are very delicate and take a little more care than baby chickens. I guess it’s a good thing that my official last day as an employee of Colorado Parks and Wildlife was on Friday. I’ve got all the time in the world to be a helicopter mom to them while sending my resume off to job listings I’ll never hear from again.